Volkswagen Beetle

has retro chic

Volkswagen Beetle Design, side
Volkswagen Beetle Design, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Design, interior
Volkswagen Beetle, side
Volkswagen Beetle, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Design

THE Volkswagen Beetle really has only one retro rival and that's the MINI.

They're as different as chalk and cheese but both hark back to days when motoring was a lot more fun, but the cars were far slower and nowhere near as reliable.

I've just been driving the Beetle 1.4 TSI in Design trim and thoroughly enjoyed its wide range of strengths.

A turbo gives the same kind of performance as a 2.0- litre from other car makers, but brings benefits in lower emissions and higher economy.

The little engine is as smooth as silk and a delight to use. It suits the car much better than the diesels fitted to so many, and when benefit in kind tax is only 21 per cent, it makes a great business option.

But don't buy a Beetle if you want space - buy the Golf it's based on instead - which is much more practical for everyday living.

Performance is great and response excellent, with no turbo lag to speak of even when accelerating in the higher gears.

It will trickle along in sixth without a murmur of complaint and yet when you drop a couple of gears and plant the right foot, it absolutely flies.

This car, on standard suspension, brought great comfort over all surfaces, but do avoid models with sports suspension in any car - it just makes the ride worse.

The handling in the Beetle is almost perfect and the roadholding brilliant.

Equipment includes an excellent DAB stereo with controls on the steering wheel, voice activation, USB and Bluetooth.

Rear legroom is still pretty small - just about enough for younger teenage children - and there are only four seatbelts.

FAST FACTS

Price: £20,700

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,390cc, 4 cylinder petrol driving the front wheels via a 6 speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph:9 seconds

Combined MPG:48

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 134g/km

Bik rating:21%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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